Ford racing legends look forward to getting their hands on the new Ford Mustang

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 30, 2008 - The Ford Mustang was established as an icon more than 40 years ago as both a production and race car. Today, the Mustang reigns supreme on the streets and race tracks with the introduction of the 2010 model.

Nearly a month after the original Mustang was introduced it debuted as a pace car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500. The following year, the Mustang competed in its first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) event. Since that racing debut in 1965, the Mustang has made legends out of drivers such as Carroll Shelby, John Force and Parnelli Jones, while crafting its own motorsports legacy.

To introduce the 2010 Mustang, racing legends Carroll Shelby, John Force, Jack Roush, Lyn St. James, Parnelli Jones and Joe DaSilva participated in a sneak peek reveal on the eve of the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.

"The 2010 Mustang is sleek and it still has that Mustang look on the outside, and the inside is incredible," said legendary drag racer, John Force. "There were sports car people from around the world at the unveiling, and to see their response to the new model was special. If you asked me to describe the event in one word I would simply say is was big!

"It was exciting to be a part of the 2010 Mustang kick-off event," said the 14-time NHRA champion. "To be included with the other legends of Ford Racing was incredible. When I saw the passion from Mark Fields and Jim Farley with Ford along with the excitement from the audience that was there, I knew I was seeing something special."

With styling cues from the Mustang Bullitt, and other features inspired by current Ford Racing vehicles, many of the words that came up as the Ford Racing stars did their own walk-around the new Mustang, were powerful, stylish, performance, great design, and aggressive. The vehicle maintains its sleek retro look with a modern twist.

"Ford and particular Mustang was a great part of my history and development and success in racing, and I was proud to share the stage with some real Ford Mustang legends and showcase Ford's new model," said St. James, the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie-of-the-Year. "Ford wasn't afraid to demonstrate the performance and power of the car and the aggressiveness that car represents during the event. And that's smart because people want to drive fast sexy cars; there's a big market out there for the Mustang.

"As far as the new model, a lot of the refinements were in the interior, which I think is really important," continued St. James. "I've spent a lot of time as a test driver for Ford where the focus was on performance and suspension, but it was nice to see them also focus on the inside of the car. That's what you see as a driver everyday. The exterior has to catch your eye to want to look at a car, the performance has to make you want to drive it, but the interior points are really important. And I think they nailed it."

For DaSilva, the 2000 National Mustang Racing Association (NMRA) World Champion, being in the same room as so many people that have experienced racing success in a Mustang and have also contributed so much to building the Mustang brand, was just as exciting as seeing the new 2010 model up close.

"It was a honor to be a part of such a big event for Ford and help them to show off the new Mustang," said DaSilva. "With so many big names and drivers all assembled in one room; it might never happen again and I was glad to be a part of the program. My first impression of the new Mustang is, ‘I want to buy this car!' I like the new sleek design while still keeping the retro exterior appearance. That also goes for the interior design of the Mustang and the changes that they made. They focused on both the outside and inside and the result was amazing. I have personally owned over 140 mustangs from '79 -‘05 throughout the last 20 years, and I will definitely be ordering a 2010 Mustang GT."